President Akufo Addo’s cousin and right-hand-man Gabby Otchere-Darko named in the questionable Asaase/Agyapa Royalty mining royalty scandal has slapped a suit against the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for the Bia East Constituency, Richard Acheampong.
Mr. Acheampong, in a radio interview, had alleged that Mr. Otchere-Darko, who is a shareholder of Asaase FM, is deeply involved in the establishment of Agyapa/Asaase Royalties, an opaque Special Purpose Vehicle established in a notorious tax haven in Jersey to collect almost US$ 200 million of Ghana’s mineral royalties every year and allegedly “monetise” it.
The NDC MP reportedly stated: “… and we asked; why is it that our natural resources, our share of the rights that generations yet unborn must come to meet and use for legacies; why are we squandering all now? And that we do not understand it. When you do some background checks about Agyapa, it used to be called Asaase Ventures and we know that Akufo-Addo’s nephew Gabby Otchere-Darko has established an FM station called Asaase FM. So when you look at it carefully, the deal has got something to do with the President and his family. So we were asking, how come we didn’t get any company but going for only that company.”
This statement, Mr. Otchere-Darko claim is libellous and has filed a writ at the Accra High Court today, August 21, 2020, seeking general damages for libel, “aggravated damages arising from libel” and general cost.
According to the writ, the NDC legislator’s statement was impugning corruption on him by alleging that he had fraudulently used his influence in government to capture Ghana’s gold royalties, particularly because the name of his radio station sounded similar to the initial name given to the shady SPV.
“…the defendant sought to imprint on the minds of the public that the plaintiff is the actual owner or a shareholder of Agyapa Royalties Limited, which was initially designated as Asaase Royalties Limited,” Gabby’s write stated.
The Government of Ghana, through the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), reportedly set up a limited liability company, Agyapa Royalties Limited to receive money Ghana is supposed to earn from gold royalties.
In exchange, the company will be raising between $500 million and $750 million lump sum for the Ghana Government on the Ghana and London Stock exchanges to invest in developmental projects.
However, the convoluted company structures show that Ghana will actually only own 51% of the liabilities of the company why unknown “private investors” and shareholders will own some 49% equity in the company.
The sponsors of the scheme: the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta had curiously rushed through parliament a set of questionable amendments to the MIIF Act to allow Agyapa to operate in a tax haven and not be subject to Ghana’s tax laws or the Public Financial Management Act, which scrutinises how public funds are used.
The amendments also ensured that Ghana was coaxed to waive its sovereign immunity which will make the country vulnerable to suits from the deal using its mineral royalties to allegedly trade on the capital market.
Whatsup News has seen documents which shows that these amendments were deeply the handiwork of a group of transaction advisors, including Mr. Otchere-Darko’s law firm, Africa Legal Services. Another law firm involved in setting up the transaction is lawyer Ace Annan Ankomah’s Bentsi-Entchil, Lesta & Ankomah law firm. The law suit promises to be revealing, Whatsup News has gathered.